I’ve been thinking of branching out into sweet romances for a couple months. But instead of jumping into it like I had in the past, I wanted to be sure this was something I should do. Then there was the question of whether or not I should announce it (something every author who uses a pen name has to ask). The other pen names I’ve had in the past didn’t work out, and I think they didn’t work because they weren’t compatible with my natural inclinations as a writer. In other words, I was trying to be someone I wasn’t as the writer in those books.
In this case, I can stay true to who I am. I’ve decided no story is worth writing unless I can do that. Regardless of the name I use, I need to be me.
Why a Pen Name?
My husband asked me why I’m bothering to make a pen name for sweet romances. In case someone is wondering the same (since I do have two sweet romances already–A Bride for Tom and Romancing Adrienne), I thought I’d explain why. Out of the 46 romances I’ve done so far, only 2 of those (A Bride for Tom and Romancing Adrienne) are sweet. The rest have sex after marriage. This is my brand. It’s what people have come to expect when they read my books. That being the case, I want to stay true to the brand I established. This way, I won’t disappoint people.
However, sometimes I have a story idea where the characters and/or plot doesn’t require sex. I only like to add sex if it moves the story along. I don’t like to throw it in just to have it there. This is why different books have more sex than others. The amount of sexual tension and sex I put in is directly related to what the characters’ need in the story.
And in some stories, there’s no sex needed at all. These are the stories I’ll be putting under the pen name. But I’m not going to hide the fact that it’s me writing them. I figure I’ll put something like “Ruth Ann Nordin writing as…” on the book and description like I see some authors do.
The Pen Name
The name I chose is Barbara Joan Russell. I have set up a WordPress website for this pen name at this link. I’m still working on it, but the basics are set up. More will be added as I keep working on books under the pen name.
But you don’t have to go to that site to see what I’m doing under this pen name. I’ll be sharing these books on this blog when I do updates and letting you know on this blog when I publish a book under this name.
The site for Barbara will not have blog posts in it. It’s for people who aren’t familiar with me who happen to stumble under the books I write as Barbara. I keep busy enough running this blog, my newsletter, and doing the occasional blog post for Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors. I can’t manage another one.
What I’ll Be Writing Under the Pen Name Barbara Joan Russell
When I say sweet, I mean no sex at all. They’ll be a kiss or maybe a teasing touch (like a playful tap on the behind or something), but that’s as far as I’m going to take it. The rest of the story will be like others I write. I’ll do historical western and contemporary romances.
Current Projects I Have Created Under Barbara Joan Russell
There are two, but one has my focus at the moment because it’s an anthology with another author.
1. Contemporary Sweet Romance Anthology
There is no title or cover for the anthology yet. But it will be composed of two novellas, each one featuring a sister who is going to head off to her romance.
I do have a title for my novella. It’s “Online Proposal” and is about a couple who met online. (My husband and I met online, but under different circumstances from the characters in the book. In this case, there’s a mutual friend involved.) Anyway, while the heroine in this story accepts the proposal, she goes to the small town he lives to meet him in person so they can both make sure it’s the right thing to do.
The other author is Catherine Lynn. Catherine’s story is about a young woman who accepts a job as a bridal dress designer in New York. I don’t know a whole lot about the novella, but she comes across a bitter homeless man while there. When I know more, I’ll post about it. I’ll also link up to Catherine Lynn’s site when she has it up. Catherine is her pen name because she writes other books under a completely different genre.
We are both hoping to have this anthology out before or by March next year, and we will be going with a publisher (Parchment & Plume) to get it out.
2. Bride of Convenience
I don’t have a cover for this yet. This will be a historical western mail-order bride romance. I plan to make it a novella, but if it turns into a novel, then that’s what it’ll be. I won’t be starting this one any time soon since I have other projects I’m doing, but I would like to get it out before October of next year.